Dear Friends and Family
Well, we just returned from Mia’s shichi go san (7 5 3) celebration.
All the other 7 and 3 year old girls has beautiful hair pieces as
well as the traditional kimono.
I could barely get Mia into the kimono (only achieved after
commenting that it was a “princess dress.”) She wouldn’t let me get
close to her hair.
But she did sit quietly through the short service the shinto priest
did for all the celebrants.
It looked like exactly the same service as the priest did for Maika’s
first shrine visit 5 months ago.
Anyway, although I consider myself a Lutheran with Unitarian
tendencies (and a dash of Quakerism), I still find it difficult to
feel the same reverence and comfort I get with the Lutheran liturgy
with other religion’s services.
Everyone else in their robes and set patterns of walking and
offerings and chanting looks somewhat whimsical to me (no offense is
meant here, I have only respect for most religions).
Yet when a Lutheran priest in his robe walks down the aisle to the
music and chants and prays, it doesn’t seem weird to me. It’s a big
old cultural difference, I guess.
Which makes it hard for me to understand people (and I am not
condemning them here, just stating my own point of view) who
sincerely identify themselves with religions not of their culture.
(for example Japanese Christians or U.S. WASP Buddhists)
While I have felt “spiritual” at shrines and mountain tops and other
places besides Lutheran Churches before, I never get the same,
comforting, almost physical sense of worship I get in the Church
service of my youth.
How do you get that feeling for a religion based on a culture very
different from yours?
It is an interesting topic of discussion. Not that I want to discuss
it with Japanese Christians, mind you. The Japanese Christians I tend
to come into contact with are the ones with tracts who come to your
door. Usually they are easy to get rid of when they see my face and I
tell them I am Lutheran (although I may not have the correct Katakana
accent for “lutheran” because they often seem confused).
I believe that God doesn’t really care how he is worshipped, as long
as the intent is true, but I can’t help wondering what kind of
Japanese person (in a culture so self-congratulatingly homogeneous-
even though that’s an erroneous stereotype) wants to stick out of the
crowd by identifying themselves to multiple strangers as Christian.
On a different note, Mia got her kindergarten acceptance letter
yesterday. I was very leery of the whole interview process, but Mia
went with the teacher and the other kids without a peep, leaving me
alone to answer a questionnaire.
Which indeed had the question “why did you choose this school” on it.
Now we have to go on Monday and pay the school about a thousand
dollars as an “entrance fee” and uniform fee.
Tee hee, Mia’s going to wear a uniform!